5 Key Health Benefits of Spending Time Outdoors for Kids
According to the Child Mind Institute, children in the United States “spend 4 to 7 minutes a day in unstructured play outdoors, and over 7 hours a day in front of a screen.” Experts agree that outdoor time is incredibly beneficial for children (and their parents). Playing outside means kids are, “smarter, happier, more attentive, and less anxious than kids who spend more time indoors.” The health benefits of outdoor time are not just luxuries but as important as eating balanced meals, getting a good night's sleep and social, community ties.
One obvious downside of screen time is that kids are sitting still. When they’re playing outside, they’re moving. They’re exercising. Just 30 minutes of exercise a day helps kids function, focus and feel better.
Spending time outdoors isn’t just beneficial, it is actually a critical component of healthy child development. Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder, coined the term, “Nature-Deficit Disorder®” to describe the negative impact on children that haven’t experienced the natural world.
Health Benefits of Outdoor Time
"The idea behind nature play—unstructured play outdoors—is to bring things back to basics. It allows kids to explore the natural environment by giving them a safe space to do so," according to Cahli Samata's article, Nature play builds resilient, curious kids.
Playing outside isn’t always easy. Sometimes it feels too hot or too cold, or too wet, or too dry. Sometimes outside adventures can feel exhausting and even scary. But, challenging conditions and experiences actually help children develop key character attributes, such as:
- Grit and Resilience
The health benefits of outdoor time range from improved eye sight to feelings of happiness & well-being, even better academic performance. The Huffington Post sites reduced levels of stress, lower blood pressure and better overall physical healthy.
However, while it may not be as easy as limiting screentime for kids, experts agree that spending time outdoors shouldn’t be considered a luxury, but a priority for families. The health benefits of outdoor time are not just for kids but the entire family.
In 10 ways to get your kids out in nature, and why it matters, author Lauren Knight shares that, “Nurturing creativity and wonder is part of our responsibility as parents if we want to raise healthy, well-balanced children.” Children truly need unstructured play time outdoors to discover the natural world.
Outdoor Education at Avid4 Adventure
Avid4 Adventure’s mission is to provide kids with the skills and confidence to choose active outdoor lifestyles. Through authentic outdoor experiences, campers learn not only technical skills for kayaking, rock climbing, canoeing, hiking, and biking, but they also develop grit and determination, critical skills for success.
Limit your child's screentime this Summer and encourage a lifetime of health by heading outdoors & getting active!
Learn more about our Summer Camps today!